LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Loud screams for help prompted a massive emergency and search and rescue effort at Lory State Park, but turns out, it was all part of a joke.

The park is known for its rushing rivers, tough terrain and popular hiking trails, but Thursday morning it was the scene of a large multi-department emergency response. A hiker was walking down a trail near Arthur’s Rock when all of a sudden, screams for help rang out.

Annie Bierbower, spokesperson for Poudre Fire Authority, shared the details of the call.

“The person who reported it as somebody seemed to be in distress with agonal cries for help,” Bierbower said.

Resources were deployed in the skies, on wheels and foot as people combed through the park to find someone hurt.

The hiker dialed 911 to get help, which sparked first responders to jump into action. Bierbower shared that Poudre Fire Authority, Larimer County Emergency Services, UCHealth, park rangers on both ATVs and dirt bikes, the Sheriff’s Office, two drones and a helicopter were all activated and responded.

“On a call like this, it can be very complex and difficult to locate somebody that’s in need of help,” Bierbower said.

4-hour search sparked by ‘a joke’

She said that time, energy and resources went into the four-hour search. It was only called off when two phone calls were received that nobody was hurt. Bierbower said they vetted both calls and confirmed nobody was injured.

“It was seemingly younger kids,” Bierbower said. “Juveniles just playing.”

Poudre Fire Authority posted a search update on its social media reading in part, “The search has been called off after two callers reported that it was them and that it was part of a joke. The timeline and location of their report was confirmed, and responders are leaving the area.”

Some residents were wondering if it was a hoax, a planned prank, or the latest TikTok trend where people scream for help and record the response. FOX31 asked Bierbower on Friday her thoughts on the incident.

“It doesn’t seem to be an intentional prank,” Bierbower said. “It didn’t seem like they had any thought that this would be the result of them calling for help or doing some big elaborate hoax.”

Seemingly a misunderstanding, but an important reminder that all calls and cries for help are taken seriously.

Poudre Fire Authority is thanking the hiker who called 911 to get help, the callers who came forward and that nobody was in distress.